Let's trouble shoot pregnancy sleeping position.
Last week we spoke about why you shouldn't lie on your back on social medai. So this week let's expand on that. I regularly hear, "but on my side isn't comfortable."
The best way to sleep while pregnant as discussed last week about 16 weeks gestation is on your side, so I will throw out some ideas to help you get comfortable and stay as comfortable as you can.
Firstly, let's get real, you are going to have to sleep on your side during pregnancy, so it can be a good idea to gently wean yourself on to sleeping on your side in the first part of your pregnancy. How do you do that? Continue reading.
Pillows matter #1:
Your head pillow should be supportive, keep your neck in alignment and be adaptable to your growing body changes. You may find you want something higher if your boobs grow and when your rib cage expands.
I am a fan of the "complete sleeprrr pillow" because you can change the height by removing or adding parts of it. This means it has the capacity to grow or shrink with you. Don't be afraid to trouble shoot and make changes to your head pillow as this may help you feel more comfortable.
Pillows matter #2:
Your knees may need support between them, as you progress through pregnancy your hips shift and widen, when this happens placing a pillow between your knees can keep tension off the pelvis, low back and also help avoid that dreaded lightening crotch (more on lightening crotch next week).
Pillows matter #3:
There are many types of pregnancy/knee pillows but personally I love the massive U shaped pillow, here is why.
Sometimes you just NEED to lie on your back, or take weight off your hips for a few minutes. If you have a U shaped pillow then one arm goes between your knees and the other arm you can wedge behind your back which means you can roll on to your back and lie at a 45 degree angle for a short period of time and be comfortable and safe.
However if you are having a summer pregnancy this may not be an option as you may get too hot!
Pillows matter #4:
Support under your expanding tummy may be needed, this brings me back to the U shape pillow being my favourite. The U shaped pregnancy pillow has the capacity to support your knees, but also can be pushed under the abdomen and support your belly too. Without belly support you may feel tension build as the night goes on in your back, hips, groin and a pulling sensation in your stomach.
That hip pain when you are lying on your side is niggly, trust me, I know.
With the hip sharpness/tenderness it may be a good idea to soften the area your hips lie on. For an extreme example, I swapped our normal mattress for the spare mattress which has a softer topper on it. You could also put a pillow under your hips to give you some extra cushion, Or you could also get a foam topper which is cheap and easy to give you a little bit of extra softness.
Roll out your hips:
Throughout the day your hips may tighten when you a pregnant. This is more common in the later stages of pregnancy, however for some woman it starts early on.
Rolling out your hips before bed can help take some tension out of them before you lie on your side all night trying to sleep.
Obviously taking a foam roller to the floor can be a bit awkward, if you are still agile enough to do this and are familiar with how to do it (used a foam roller before getting pregnant) then go for it.
If not then grab a ball about the size of a tennis ball or slightly bigger. Stand with one hip against the wall and step out far enough to place the ball between the wall and your hip. You want to roll the ball in the soft space between the hip bone on the top side of your leg (greater trochanter) and the bone above it (iliac crest). Find any tender areas and stay on them until they loosen off.
Then place the ball in your glute muscles (bum muscles) and do that same.
I may not be explaining this very well, so if you would like further information about this then contact me for further help.
This affects some woman later in their pregnancy. It is something that is impacted by many different factors, however this is a sleeping blog so I will focus on that and write a blog on reflux in pregnancy at a later date. Sometimes it is bought on by lying down, if this is the case elevating your upper body using pillows can help ease the reflux. Do this by lying on your side with pillows propping you up from the waist up. It takes a bit of structural prowess to get the pillow set up sorted, but it is worth a try if it gets you some more quality sleep.
Be aware the U shape pillow may not be your ideal neck pillow, so you can open them up and take some or all of the stuffing out of the top of them. Then you can place your normal head pillow across the top. Easy.
It goes without saying that amongst all of these pointers getting adjusted is a good idea too, however this is a brilliant place to start.
If you have any questions then give me a yell as I love hearing from people!
Hi. My name is Ainslee, I am a chiropractor and passionate about guiding people towards living their best. I love to facilitating people to get people well and stay well.